Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Review: Incense and Peppermints by Cathrina Constantine

The Blurb
Peace demonstrations, sit-ins, and burning the U.S. flag following the escalation of the Vietnam War are leading to a catalyst known to the world as the Sixties. A musical revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs are carrying the generations—young and old—into a new decade. All the while sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is caught between being an innocent good girl and an autumn of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

When her brother offers a solution to her dilemma in the form of a little pill, Mary ignores the rumba in her brain and takes a walk on the wild side. Plunged into popularity and a life she’s only imagined, she meets Michael Covington, the hot newcomer, and she’s instantly drawn in by his less than flawless exterior and bad boy sex appeal. Caught up in the danger and excitement as they drift from party to party, into underground fight clubs, and through a series of drug and alcohol fueled adventures. Mary follows her new crush into a world where young girls are never truly safe from the predators lurking in the shadows and where young men are hiding from the harsh reality of war.

Feeling buzzed and as if her life is spinning out of control, Mary is assaulted by an unknown man at a party, and she’s left questioning if the enigmatic Michael is truly her hero or if he is the face behind the terrible attack. With every piece of information Mary learns about Michael, her doubts grow deeper, but with every minute she spends in his presence, so does her love.

With the war and her fear threatening to separate Mary and Michael forever, only the death of a friend, a crushing confession, and her own sensibilities can carry her over the threshold between adolescence and adulthood. 

My Review
I didn’t grow up in the sixties, but this book opened my eyes to what it may have been like. It was a time of free love and life, but not everything was “groovy” especially for the heroine. I liked the way Mary transitioned and grew during this book. From being a follower to becoming comfortable with who she was and what she needed to make her happy. She epitomized a strong heroine, and she still has years to grow and discover more about herself.

I know this novel is more of a coming of age story, but I’m a huge romance fan and Ms. Constantine put just enough in it to keep me satisfied. Although Michael was "too old" (by way of his life experiences) for Mary’s innocent nature, he was perfect for her. Michael had had a rough few years which had made him grow up faster than he should’ve. And yet when it came to dealing with Mary he didn’t take advantage of her, on the contrary he protected her. It was such a sweet story.

From its psychedelic beginning to its sweet, poignant ending I loved this story.

I give this book five out of five beer can shaped chocolate bars.

I purchased my copy from Amazon.


  1. Sounds like a very nice book. And yes, the sixties were wild and rough, though I was born into it, I lived in Ghana for sure. (lol)

    1. Lol. I saw how short your dresses used to be during that time. Wild and rough indeed.

  2. I have heard about sixties in America through television and reading. Very interesting Cathrina chose this time period for her story. Glad you enjoyed it Nana.

  3. A time of free love, but but peace.


I love reading your comments.